114 min. | PG-13
Contrary to its title, this film has no intelligence. The story is contrived and inane, not clever. The action is neither interesting nor exciting. With Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as leads, you’d expect Hart to be annoying while Johnson plays it cool. It’s the opposite: Hart plays it straight and isn’t funny, while Johnson hams it up as a unicorn-loving, fanny-pack wearing CIA agent and isn’t funny.
The film’s setup is simple yet illogical: Calvin (Hart) was the guy everyone wanted to be in high school, and now 20 years later is a forensic accountant. He is and always has been a genuinely nice guy. Bob (Johnson) was overweight and bullied in high school, and now works for the CIA. He was a victim and is now an insufferably annoying, clingy and manipulative liar. It’s as if the writers sat in a room and said, “Let’s have Hart not be annoying, and Johnson irritate the crap out of everyone.”
Bob works his way back into Calvin’s life because he needs Calvin’s accounting skills to figure out the meeting place of the buyer and seller of satellite codes. CIA agent Pam Harris (Amy Ryan) thinks Bob is the seller and tries to arrest him.
It’s painful when the film tries to be funny and doesn’t connect. For example, early on Calvin talks about life with his wife (Danielle Nicolet) while at lunch, but the jokes are redundant—Calvin dwelling on how hard his life is. Hart gets a few decent one-liners, but many jokes lack creativity and inspiration.
Johnson struggles more than Hart. Bob is supposed to be kooky and eccentric, but he comes off as faux charming odious. Worse, he’s leading Calvin to help save the world, yet he never takes anything seriously, even when he’s taking Calvin (whom he proclaims to have nothing but love and respect for) out of his comfort zone and forcing him to help. We spend so much time feeling sorry for Calvin as big bully Bob, who repeatedly says he hates bullies, forces him to risk his life.